Bird battle escalates in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (KARE) – Minnesota’s bird enthusiasts are asking Governor Mark Dayton to apply pressure to the stadium board and the Vikings to change the design of the glass wall that will be the new stadium’s signature design feature.

“A beautiful aesthetic to me is watching a 64-yard touchdown run. It’s not looking at a building with clear glass that I know is going to kill thousands of birds every year,” says Sharon Stiteler, an author and blogger.

Stiteler, who has a loyal following at her birdchick.com website, says the stadium’s location, within a mile of the Mississippi River, will make it a prime spot for birds to collide with glass.

“The Mississippi River is the 35-W of migration in the spring and fall,” she said.

Siteler was among those on hand when the Audubon Society of Minnesota set up shop outside the Governor’s office Tuesday morning in St. Paul.

Volunteers set up artistic images of battered birds and posters bearing the names of 73,000 birders who’ve signed the organization’s online petitions asking for bird-safe glass in the stadium. The art was created by a University of Minnesota graduate student who used actual photos of birds that had slammed into glass buildings.

“The governor has referred to this stadium as the people’s stadium, and these are the people’s signatures asking that the people’s stadiums not kill the people’s birds,” Matthew Anderson of Audubon MN remarked.

Fritted glass, which employees embedded dots or patterns between panes, is designed for energy efficiency because they diffuse sunlight. But, research shows the special glass also reduces bird collisions.

The Audubon’s Joanna Eckles said the glass helps birds realize they’re approaching a solid surface, but it doesn’t necessarily obscure the views of people looking through the window.

“When you’re looking out through the pattern your eye tends to look out to the brightness and you tend to be able to see right through it, much like looking through a screen,” Eckles said, while showing samples of the glass.

The Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a resolution last week asking the stadium board and the Vikings to consider bird safe glass.

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